10 steps to job hunting

10 steps in the job hunting process, covering looking for work, applying for jobs, interviews and job offers.

Step 1: Research job opportunities

Research jobs that fit your skills and your job hunting will be more focused.  

  • Identify your skills and interests for the type of job you’re looking for.
  • Talk to someone at the organisation you’re interested in and ask whether the skills and qualifications they need match yours.
  • Research the organisation's website to see if they have the type of jobs you want.
  • Find jobs by checking job vacancy and recruitment websites, government, council and industry organisation websites, social media, professional and industry journals, and by going to career expos or promoting yourself at industry networking events.

Step 2: Write or update your CV

Your CV tells people who you are. It needs to demonstrate how you'll add value to an organisation, what you do well, and what problems you've helped solve in the past.

  • Tailor your CV to the jobs you’re applying for so employers can see you’ve got the right skills and experience for the role. You can include transferable skills from your volunteer, community work or work at home. 
  • Include your personal statement – a small paragraph at the top of your CV summarising your skills and strengths.
  • Include examples of your achievements, including how your work contributed to successful outcomes. 
  • Keep it short because employers are busy and are mainly looking for relevant work experience.
  • Choose referees who can speak well of your achievements and your working style.

Step 3: Write online profiles

Professional networking sites like LinkedIn have become popular with employers. Sixty percent of hiring managers say they’re less likely to give you an interview if they can’t find you online. Make yourself visible to employers online.

  • Use social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to boost your public profile and highlight your skills.
  • Sign up with industry-specific social media, for example, pond.co.nz for teachers or builderscrack.co.nz for builders.
  • Set up a personal professional website or Facebook page just for job seeking that has links to your CV, a short video bio, examples of your work, and images of hobbies or interests.
  • Use Instagram or a blog to show off your creativity if you work in a creative industry. 

Step 4: Check your social media

If you make it to the interview stage most employers will have looked you up online. Before you start your job search make sure you have a clean digital footprint. 

  • Google yourself with a quick name search to find out how you come up online. If you like what’s there then you’re fine. If something you wouldn't want an employer to see comes up on Google, have it removed or made private. If nothing shows up, raise your profile by tweeting or building a LinkedIn profile. 
  • Keep your private life private by triple checking your privacy settings and if in doubt, don’t post or ‘like’ posts.

Step 5: Apply for jobs

When you apply for a job, your cover letter and application form that goes with your CV should include important information for employers.

  • Write a brilliant cover letter using out cover letter template.
  • Show you're enthusiastic about the role by giving examples in the cover letter of how your skills and experience match the tasks and requirements listed in the job advert. And tell the employer why you’d like to work in their company.
  • Check if there’s an online application form to fill out. If you keep your CV in a Word document you can easily get information from it to put into online applications.

Step 6: Prepare for interviews

An interview is a chance for an employer to meet you in person, and for you to assess whether you would like to work there. So it’s important to spend time preparing for your interview.

  • Find out more about the organisation online – its products, services and key people. 
  • Reread the job description to prepare for questions you may be asked.
  • Make sure you have questions ready to ask them, and evidence of your achievements. 
  • Practise your interview by writing out possible questions you’ll be asked and getting a friend to interview you.

Step 7: Prepare for tests

You may be tested on your skills (writing, customer service, typing) or your personality when you go to an interview.

Get prepared by practising mock tests. Practice tests can be found online, for example at New Cops New Zealand.

Step 8: Attend interviews

Congratulate yourself when you're offered an interview. Now it’s up to you to make a great impression and get that job.

  • First impressions do count, so make sure you wear something that’s smart, simple and looks professional.
  • Work out how you’ll get to the interview, and how long it’ll take you to get there so you're not late.
  • Be confident when answering interview questions and speak clearly.
  • Keep it positive by not criticising previous employers.
  • Be ready to give examples from your previous experience that demonstrate your knowledge and skills.

Step 9: Choose your referees

Employers usually ask you for at least two referees – people they can call to check your work experience and find out whether you will fit into their organisation.

Choose referees who are reliable and professional, and easy to contact. They should be able to talk about work you have done and how you do it. The best referee options are your manager or supervisor, but your coach, community leader or course tutor are good if you have limited work experience.

Step 10: Getting a job offer

Being offered a job is exciting. Although it’s natural to want to accept it straight away, take the time to consider the offer because your reputation could be at stake if you back out later.

Before you accept the offer, ask to look over the employment agreement and make sure you understand it, or get advice on its fairness before signing it.

Think about whether the employment agreement covers important things such as flexible working hours and the opportunity to learn new skills. If you're not completely happy, it could be worth trying to negotiate on pay, leave or training before you sign the contract. 

Updated 17 Jan 2019